If you look only at the critical reaction to Batman: Arkham Knight, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with many bad things to say about the game. On Metacritic it currently has a score of 91, which makes it one of the best-reviewed games of the year. Even the critics who gave it the lowest scores still agree that it’s a very solid game overall.
But just a glance at the Steam user reviews for the PC version of the game tells a very different story. The user feedback there is overwhelmingly negative. It’s enough to make you wonder: What gives?
It turns out that the PC version of the game suffers from a number of glaring issues. For starters, the game is locked at 30 frames per second unless you dig into the game’s files and tweak one of them. And regardless of your settings, players have reported that the frame rate often dips to unplayable levels. Watch the video below to see the issues in action.
As Steam user Shadownet puts it:
It’s 2015, why is a game of this caliber is being locked at 30fps? While the frame rate cap is editable, you have to go into the config to do it instead of the main menu. But that doesn’t matter, the game is terribly optimized. Whether it’s capped at 30 or 60fps, you’ll get major framerate drops. A single GTX 970 isn’t even enough to keep it at a stable 30fps, which is completely ludicrous. Warner Brothers should be ashamed of releasing a game like this.
The user feedback has been so negative that Steam removed the game from the front page of its site. Now that’s a bold move. Batman: Arkham Knight is one of the biggest games to launch all year. If there ever was a game that Steam would want on its front page, it’s this. But the PC version is currently in such a sorry state that the largest PC game store on the planet has effectively buried it.
Why didn’t critics mention these issues in their reviews? Because the publisher didn’t send out copies of the PC version to reviewers. It only sent out PlayStation 4 copies, and the console versions of the game run great. No one had played the PC version before it launched, so no one could warn PC gamers not to buy it before the game came out.
We’re aware that some users are reporting performance issues with the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight. This is something that Rocksteady takes very seriously. We are working closely with our external PC development partner to make sure these issues get resolved as quickly as possible.
We’ll update this thread when we’ve got more info to share.
Thankfully, if you bought the game on Steam and are experiencing issues, you have options. For one, you could wait until the developer releases the inevitable patch that will make the game work properly. Or, if you’ve played it for less than two hours and purchased the game within the last two weeks, you can get a refund (info here).
It’s an unfortunate truth about modern gaming that buggy launches for AAA games has become more or less expected. When will it end? If the disastrous launch of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC is any indication, not anytime soon.